Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stages of the portrait

I'm painting using a very old method here. The portrait started with a Grisalle (black and white) using acrylic rather than oils to make the process move faster. You can paint in an almost photographic manner in black and white. That wasn't my intention here.

The next step is to apply the oils with a layer of sepia colour over the black and white work. I chose umber mixed with ochre jaune and a touch of cadmium red. It was a dominant tone in the composition and worked with the skin colours. As soon as the sepia is added the painting begins to look alive. The colour and the values of the black and white work make it look very dynamic. It's an illusion that only the artist will experience because of the amount of time they spend in front of the work. There is a lot more to do.

Straight away I began working in the background colour which effects how you see everything. Then the highlights in the skin are particularly important. The mid tones are basicly the sepia. Using cadmium rouge and blue with a touch of cadmium yellow for the cheeks and shadow areas (a touch more blue there). The griselle still shows through and gives all the colours a value and the shapes a dimension.

A few days later and many layers of colour have begun to add up to the completed painting. I corrected a few elements in the composition. The underpainting seems to have completely disappeared but if you look closely you can see areas where the colour receives it's value from the work beneath.

A close up of the portrait. The sunlight makes the wet paint reflective so it's not exactly as you see it here. It will be a few weeks before it is completly dry.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Latest portrait

I'll be posting more information about this painting and the stages involved in creating it. It's a commission for a family in Paris.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back from Ireland

I just got back from Ireland yesterday. It was a nice few days visiting some of my family and seeing Dublin. I think my wife is happiest there but she couldn't come with me this time. I also visited the GOAL ball, charity event in the Burlington hotel, where I donated a piece of art for public auction.

So I've finished up the the ile Saint Louis gallery and am back to doing my own paintings, thank goodness. It's been a while and I've been missing it very much. The gallery experience was very good for learning about marketing and the hard work that goes into promotion and setting up shows. There's a lot to any business involved in the arts, when it is done well but this was particularly demanding as I was doing everything myself.

It's very good to be out of there now and planning my own working exhibitions and events. I'm still working with other artists and promoting people that I believe in.

I'm organising drawing with the human model in a large atelier in the 6th of Paris and that is proving popular with very interesting and intelligent people attending. It averages between 16 and 26 people per session. The models are fantastic. Super professional.

There's information about that here on my site:

If you are interested and have any questions, feel free to post them here.